Coveney ‘not very keen’ on drafting in troops to deal with Dublin Airport queues

The Minister for Foreign Affairs said no formal request for members of the Defence Forces to help
Coveney ‘not very keen’ on drafting in troops to deal with Dublin Airport queues

Cate McCurry, PA

The Minister for Defence said he is “not very keen” on the idea of deploying troops to deal with the lengthy queues at Dublin Airport.

Simon Coveney said that no formal request for members of the Defence Forces to help with the lengthy delays has been made.

Dublin Airport said it is still trying to rebound from the impact of the pandemic and blamed shortages in fully-trained staff working at the country’s busiest airport.

It is hoped that more staff will be recruited before the Easter holidays.

Asked if he thinks Defence Forces personnel should be drafted in to help, Mr Coveney said: “That’s an option I’m not very keen on, I have to say as Minister for Defence.

“Our Defence Forces are busy, they’re asked to do a lot outside of core defence.

“But there is no formal request and has been no formal request for the army to be part of the solution in Dublin airport.

“I know that the DAA are working hard to ensure they can get more efficiency and faster throughput through the security checks in the airport but as of now there is no formal ask of me as Minister of Defence or of my department in terms of the assisting on that.”

The junior transport minister Hildegarde Naughton said she is having daily meetings with the daa in relation to the contingency measures.

She said the measures have been put in place since last weekend, which has led to “huge improvements” in the management of queues.

 

“They have redeployed staff, they have 600 non-frontline staff now on the frontline helping to manage queues and there’s greater throughput of passengers, so they are managing this situation very well,” Ms Naughton added.

“But those daily meetings will continue, I have a further one this evening.

“There’s no formal request, as Mr Coveney has said, in relation to the army, the daa suggested potentially involving the Defence Forces at earlier meetings, but there’s no such request or plans in place for that.

“They are engaging in an intensive recruitment campaign this week as well to increase staffing numbers.

“We will be watching this very carefully, and we are absolutely working hand in hand with the data in relation to ensuring that passengers and our citizens who have had two years of pandemic can get away over holidays safely.”

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